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Content Guidelines

Editorial Guidelines

There are many common, and Bentley-specific, editorial standards that should be met in all web and print publications. They are summarized, with examples, within the Quick Guide to Bentley Style.

Organizing Content

When developing content for the web, keep in mind that the number of site visitors using mobile devices to access Bentley pages is increasing rapidly. Navigation items, page titles and heading text should be short and descriptive.

“Chunk” your content. On the web, users tend to scan content, rather than read word for word. Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for by using headers, bullets and lists to break up your content.

Organize content into a structure that makes sense to your intended audience. You do not need to follow Bentley's internal hierarchy when creating web content.

No “coming soon” or “under construction” messages. People are coming to your site for up-to-date, relevant content. If users can’t find what they need, they not only will be frustrated, but you may lose them completely.

If you need to post a message but don’t have the full details, let users know when they will be available:

No: Check back soon for the fall 2013 course schedule.

Yes: The fall 2013 course schedule will be posted on April 1.

Page content length. When creating a page, please consider carefully if you have enough, significant content to warrant it. If your content is brief, we recommend determining if there is another page on your site into which it could be incorporated. Digital Engagement can work with you to organize your content, if needed. 

Titles, Links and Navigation

Site and page names should be created using Title Case; do not use all caps. For example, the Graduate site should read “McCallum Graduate School of Business”, not “MCCALLUM GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS”.

Link phrases rather than single words. Links should give users a clear idea of what they can expect to find on the page to which you are directing them.

Link names to email addresses and include the full email address in the text. Adding a hyperlink to the name of the email recipient allows site visitors to click on the link and have their email software launch. Writing out the email address is also important so that those who do not have an email application on their device (or those that do not have it set up to launch automatically) can see it.

Avoid web clichés and navigational instructions. There’s no need to tell users how to move around your site, or how to get from one page to the next. If your content is clear, users will know how to get to where they want to go.

No: To learn more about women’s basketball at Bentley, visit the Bentley Athletics website and click on the women’s sports tab.

Yes: Learn more about women’s basketball at Bentley.

No: Click here to register for Open House.

Yes: Register for Open House.

Link to other websites as appropriate. Make it easy for your users: When you mention another Bentley department or office on your site, create a link to them!

Formatting Content

Don’t copy and paste directly from Word. Microsoft Word sometimes inserts unnecessary extra code that affects the formatting of your webpage. To avoid this, paste your copy into a text editor like Notepad before pasting it into Drupal.

Use headings and formatting styles effectively. In Drupal, you have two main heading options: heading 2 and heading 3, also known as H2 and H3 tags. They can be found in the Format dropdown menu.

These heading styles are useful elements for structuring web pages, and help break your content into manageable chunks for your site visitors. Use:

  • Heading 2 for section headings
  • Heading 3 for paragraph headings
  • Heading 4 to apply emphasis to titles

Headings should not be used simply to add emphasis to a sentence. Search engines also use these tags to help determine what your content is about and overusing headings works against this process. Bold and Italics are used to show emphasis within sections of content.

Do not underline copy. Underlined copy looks like a link, which can confuse and frustrate your users.

Do not overuse bold and italics. Use these too much and you’ll achieve the opposite effect of what you had intended — if everything is emphasized, nothing stands out.

Use tables sparingly.
Tables are:

  • Inflexible: tables are not mobile- or responsive-friendly so they will not resize automatically if a viewer is using a mobile device or if they reduce the size of the window they are using to view the page.
  • Not accessible: screen readers have great difficulty in parsing data inside a table correctly.
  • Slower to download.

Because of these important issues, table creation should be limited to the presentation of tabular data only.